Last Updated on April 5, 2021
From all cod fish recipes I know, this pan-fried cod might be the quickest clean eating dish. When briefly fried and served with a fresh salad or steamed vegetables, it becomes a tasty and light delicacy.
One of the most popular edible fish in the world
Most cod is sold particularly on Good Friday, when fish is traditionally eaten, especially in the Catholic regions of the world. The majority describes its taste as unique and particularly delicious. It is a mild fish that contains more firm “muscle meat” than other fish. That's why it lends itself perfectly for the preparation in a skillet. Enjoy within a few minutes the tender white flakes of juicy cod, with nice and light flavor, that is healthy and exquisite.
Pan-seared versus pan-fried cod recipes
This recipe is very simple to do at home and it is the way cod and similar white fish are often cooked in restaurant kitchens. I admit I do it a bit different…The correct culinary terminology would probably be pan-seared cod as I'm searing the fish in little oil and not frying it in an oil bath. Besides of pan-searing you can of course also bake, steam or grill your fish fillet.
Less expensive and lean protein source
Fish is an excellent source of protein by nature and therefore enjoys a great deal of popularity in any meal constellation. Cod stands out, in this context, because it is cheaper than other types like e.g. salmon, but still provides protein of the highest quality. One kilogram of cod contains about 170 grams of protein.
With less than 1% fat, cod is also a great fish for weight management. In addition, trace elements and minerals are abundant. Especially in regard to fluorine, selenium and iodine cod is at the top of the list.
How to cook cod
Most fried cod recipes will call for oil with a high smoke point like canola oil which is usually processed and not clean. Others call for melted butter. I'm using for most of my clean eating recipes olive oil and I feel it works for this pan-seared recipe too. There are some other tricks to ensure some extra crispiness I'll share with you below.
For this recipe it is important that you have either fresh cod fillets or you thawed your frozen fish in your fridge for at least 5-6 hours. You can use cod with skin or without. I've used the skinless version.Print
Pan Fried Cod Fish Recipe
A delicious and affordable fish meal
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 7
- Total Time: 12
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Shallow frying
- Cuisine: German
- Diet: Low Fat
- 2–3 cod fillets
- 1/2 tsp salt
- some pepper
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
- Wash your fresh or thawed fillets under current cold water and dry them with a paper towel.
- Heat oil in a frying pan. (The pan should be really hot)
- Mix flour with salt and pepper on a plate.
- Once the pan is almost hot, turn the cod in the flour mixture and tap the excess off. (It should be just a light dusting of flour!)
- Fry cod in hot oil at medium heat until golden – 2-4 minutes per side. (Resist the temptation to move it and turn it only one time to prevent fish from falling apart)
- For a lean meal serve it with a large mixed salad or some steamed vegetables.
- Serving Size: 2
Keywords: pan-fried cod fish, codfish, cod fillets
Cod Recipes – Tips and Tricks
Here are some additional tips to prevent cod falling apart:
- Add some sprinkles of lemon juice to the oil versus the end of the searing process.
- Don't fry the fillets longer than 4 minutes on each side.
- As you might have noticed, I'm using white flour for this recipe that usually should be avoided in a “clean eating kitchen”. But as you might know, I'm not a 100% clean eating advocate but prefer instead the 80/20 approach. The flour mix is essential for keeping fish firm and crispy – it forms a protective coating. You could also use whole grain flour instead.
Best Kitchen Gear
For best searing results I recommend to use a cast iron skillet or a stainless steel skillet.
Fish on Fridays has a long family tradition
I'm used to eating fish meals on Fridays since my early childhood. Even nowadays we have seafood at the end of the workweek. Our favorite meal is a salmon dish but from time to time I cook simple, less expensive cod fish recipes.
I serve pan-fried cod mostly with a mayo-free German potato salad (see picture below) and/or cucumber salad. That way we enjoy a light meal that is even appropriate for weight management.
Origin and buying tips
Cod lives across the North Atlantic, in the North and Baltic Seas and in the northern Pacific. It used to be one of the so-called breadfish because of its abundance. Today, most stocks are massively threatened by overfishing. It should therefore rarely be served, and according to the current Greenpeace recommendation, only if it originates from the North-East Atlantic or North-East Pacific.
How long does uncooked cod last in the fridge?
Cod should not be stored for too long at home. The special structure of the meat offers an ideal environment for bacteria. Therefore I highly recommended to prepare it as quickly as possible. Don't store it in the fridge for more than 36 hours. You should also make sure that the fish is cooled during transport, from the point of purchase to your own home.
What to serve with pan-fried cod?
Pan-fried cod is delicious with a side of roasted potatoes, chunky mashed sweet potatoes, or braised greens.
Can I use frozen cod?
Because frozen fish is flash-frozen soon after the catch, the freshness and flavor are excellent. You can use frozen cod as long as it is thawed and treated properly.
What is your favorite recipe?
Now it's your turn! What is your preferred cod recipe? Share it with us in the comment section below!
Clean Eating Fish Recipes: Important part of 52 Chef Habits
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37 thoughts on “How To Cook Pan Fried Cod The Healthy Way”
Oh MY, it looks great! Can’t wait to cook em this Sunday!
I cooked this last night and my picky family loved it! This was the best cod I’ve eaten. Thank you for an excellent recipe, and I hugely applaud the lemon juice.
thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad that my recipe could impress even your “picky” family. I know how hard it is to please picky eaters…
So make sure to keep the recipe at hand:)
Perfect! Thank you!
You are very welcome, Susan:)
Gabi, it looks perfect and tasty! Can’t wait to have this anytime of the day, love it!
You are welcome Olga. Make sure to give it a try soon!
That looks perfectly cooked and I like to keep it simple when it comes to the seasoning too.
Thank you, Danii. I have the same approach regarding seasoning – keep it as natural as possible.
we love cod and lemon together is perfect. I actually am getting some fresh today living in Florida we get it shipped here daily from up North so this recipe is perfect !
Hey Claudia, you are really lucky that you can get so super fresh seafood from the North shipped to your region. Enjoy the recipe!
I love fish – love! My daughter and I are the only ones in my family who like fish so I’m going to give this recipe a try!
Hey Mary, I’m glad that my recipe could inspire you. Wishing you and your daughter a tasty seafood dish. Although I eat mostly plant-based, fish for me is the rare exception – especially because of all the valuable Omega 3 fatty acids.
What a great healthy and simple recipe! Yum, I love all types of fish, so I will have to give this a go. Great photos too. Cheers!
Thank you for your kind words, Adrianne. I love to keep my recipes as healthy and as simple as possible. Enjoy your protein-rich meal!
This is perfect! Simple is best with fish I think. I love the idea of adding lemon to the oil, will have to try that. Great post.
Thank you Michelle. As a minimalist, I love to keep things simple. Adding lemon to the oil is the little thing that makes or breaks a great seafood dish. Make sure to try it soon, you won’t regret it!
Thank you for this delicious sounding & easy recipe. I was looking for a cod variation as I normally bake my cod. I salt & pepper the cod (this works with any white fish) place it in a pan with white wine & sometimes lemon slices, then I add a tiny dab of butter on top each piece. I bake it on 350 for appx 20 minutes (ovens vary in temperature). It’s a super easy & tasty way to bake cod but tonight I think I’ll try your method! Thanks again… happy eating 🙂
I love your easy oven baked cod recipe. Thank you for the inspiration, will give it soon a try. I think its even lower in fat and must taste delicious with the white wine base.
Thank you for sharing! I used arrowroot powder in place of the flour and zested half an orange I had left from another recipe. It was delicious!
Hey Rosalie, you are welcome! Thank you for sharing your variation with arrow powder and orange. I can imagine that it was very tasty.
great cooking & food safety tips! thanks for sharing
You are very welcome, Rebecca. I’m glad that you enjoyed my cooking and safety tips.
I actually have fish on the menu for dinner tonight! I appreciate all the tips you gave, especially adding lemon juice to the oil before cooking.
I’m glad that my tips could inspire you, Lisa. Enjoy your fish meal this evening:)
I have to try this! Looks amazing! Perfect. This is a great idea. Thank you for sharing this great recipe.
You are very welcome, Mary. Yes you should try this cod recipe, you won’t regret it.
This cod recipe looks so tender and Juicy and definitely delicious. I don’t really like fish ( weird I know) but this cod makes me want to dig in.
Thank you Chichi, I can relate to you. As I’m slowly transitioning into a whole foods plant based nutrition, for me it’s also getting harder to eat my fish on our traditional “Fish Friday”. At least this recipe makes it easier:)
Great recipe! I love to use cod in soups and stews – love a good fish chowder!
Thank you Danielle, I’m glad that you like my fish recipe. Yes, cod is also perfect for soups and stews.
It was a great and simple recipe,my family really enjoyed it
Thank you Perla,
I’m glad that your family enjoyed it:)
Our favorite cod recipe is first sautéing veggies of your choice in butter and white wine and as they begin to get tender, place the cod which has been salted and peppered on top of the veggies. Cover and let cod steam to perfection and serve over brown rice flavored with any spice you like. I like Malay mixed spice but any you like works well.
what a great recipe idea – love the simplicity of this steamed cod fish with vegetables. Will try it soon! Thank you for sharing and Happy Easter:)
Thank you Imran:)